Caldo Verde (Green Broth)

Caldo verde is a favorite throughout Portugal. This version is from Portuguese Homestyle Cooking by Ana Patuleia Ortins (Interlink Books, 2001). The soup calls for a zesty Portuguese sausage, either chouriço or linguiça, both of which are usually available in supermarkets. (Spanish or Latin American chorizo can be substituted, if necessary.) Patuleia Ortins notes that you can adjust the amount of potatoes and greens to suit your taste. If you reheat any leftover soup, you may want to add a little extra water to thin the broth because the potatoes will release more starch and thicken the broth as it cools. Some cooks add a splash of Madeira to the soup before serving, then serve a glass of Madeira to drink with it.

Wine recommendations: A crisp vinho verde such as Quinta do Malgaço’s Alvarinho or another fruity dry white such as João Pires from Terras do Sado. Obviously, you can’t go wrong with Madeira (see above).

  • 6 cups water
  • 5 medium-sized Maine, Yukon Gold or other starchy potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 5 cups)
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, or to taste
  • 1 bunch (1 1/2 pounds before trimming) flat-leaf kale or collard greens
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 pound chouriço or linguiça sausage, sliced in 1¼4-inch rounds

In a 4-quart stockpot, combine water, potatoes and onion. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, season with salt and simmer until potatoes are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim kale leaves, removing thick central stems. Rinse leaves well in sink full of cool water. Lift out to drain. Stack leaves and roll them tightly lengthwise into a log-shaped bundle. Using a sharp knife, cut log into very thin slices, creating a chiffonade of kale. Continue cutting until you have about 6 cups. Set aside.

When potatoes are cooked, use a stick blender or food mill to purée contents of pot to a smooth consistency (or remove potatoes from soup, mash with a fork and return to soup). Return to a boil.

Add greens and olive oil and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until greens are bright green and tender.

In a skillet set over medium-high heat, cook sausage slices, turning to brown on both sides.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls. It is traditional to place one slice of sausage into each bowl and serve the remaining sausage on the side. Serve hot.

Published on June 24, 2010